Beyoncé Giselle Knowles ( /bi?j?nse?/ bee-yon-say; born September 4, 1981), often known simply as Beyoncé, is an American R;B recording artist, actress and fashion designer. Born and raised in Houston, Texas, she enrolled in various performing arts schools and was first exposed to singing and dancing competitions as a child. Knowles rose to fame in the late 1990s as the lead singer of the R;B girl group Destiny’s Child, one of the world’s best-selling girl groups of all time. During the hiatus of Destiny’s Child, Knowles released her debut solo album Dangerously in Love in 2003, which spawned the number-one hits “Crazy in Love” and “Baby Boy” and became one of the most successful albums of that year, earning her a then record-tying five Grammy Awards. Following the group’s disbandment in 2005, Knowles released her second solo album, B’Day in 2006. It debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 and included the hits “Irreplaceable” and “Beautiful Liar”. Her third solo album I Am… Sasha Fierce was released in 2008, and included the anthemic “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)”.
The album earned Knowles six Grammys at the 52nd Grammy Awards, breaking the record for most Grammy Awards won by a female artist in one night. Apart from her work in music, Knowles has also launched a career in acting. In 2001, she made her debut in the musical film Carmen: A Hip Hopera, prior to appearing in major films, including Dreamgirls (2006), which earned her two Golden Globe nominations, and Cadillac Records (2008). In 2004, Knowles and her mother introduced their family’s fashion line, House of Deréon; Knowles has also endorsed brands such as Pepsi, Tommy Hilfiger, Armani and L’Oréal. In June 2010, Knowles was ranked second on Forbes list of the 100 Most Powerful and Influential celebrities in the world, and first on its list of the Most Powerful and Influential musicians in the world. Knowles has earned numerous awards and accolades.
She is one of the most honored artists by the Grammys, and third among female artists, with a total of 16 Grammy Awards – 13 as a solo artist and 3 as a member of Destiny’s Child. Knowles was ranked the 4th Artist of the 2000s decade by Billboard and was listed the most successful female artist of the decade, as well as the top radio artist of the decade. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), also listed Knowles as the top certified artist of the decade. In the United States alone, Knowles has sold over 11.2 million albums and nearly 25 million singles as of May 2010. As of September 2009, she has sold 75 million records worldwide, making her one of the best-selling music artists of all time. Contents
1 Life and career
1.1 1981–1996: Early life and career beginnings
1.2 1997–2001: Destiny’s Child era and depression
1.3 2002–03: Solo career, films, and Dangerously in Love
1.4 2004–05: Destiny Fulfilled and group disbandment
1.5 2006–07: B’Day and films
1.6 2008–09: Marriage, I Am… Sasha Fierce, and films
1.7 2010–present: New management and 4
2.1 Music and voice
2.3 Stage and alter ego
2.4 Public image
3 Awards and achievements
4 Other ventures
4.1 Clothing lines
4.2 Products and endorsements
8 See also
10 External links
Life and career
1981–1996: Early life and career beginnings
Knowles was born in Houston, Texas, the daughter of Mathew Knowles, a professional record manager, and Tina Knowles (née Beyincé), a costume designer and hair stylist. Knowles’ father is African American and her mother is of Creole (African, Native American, and French) descent. Knowles was baptized after her mother’s maiden name, as a tribute to her mother. She is the elder sister of Solange, a singer-songwriter and actress. Knowles was schooled at St. Mary’s Elementary School in Texas, where she enrolled in dance classes, including ballet and jazz. Her talent in singing was discovered when her dance instructor began humming a song and she finished it, hitting the high-pitched notes. Knowles’ interest in music and performing began after participating in a school talent show. She sang John Lennon’s “Imagine” and won the competition. At age seven, Knowles started gaining attention from the press, having been mentioned in the Houston Chronicle as a nominee for the local performing arts award The Sammy. In the fall of 1990, Knowles enrolled in Parker Elementary School, a music magnet school in Houston, where she would perform on-stage with the school’s choir. She also attended the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Houston and later went to Alief Elsik High School, located in the Houston suburban munincipality, Alief. Knowles was a soloist in the choir of her church, in St. John’s United Methodist Church. She only lasted in the choir for two years. At the age of eight, Knowles met LaTavia Roberson while in an audition for an all-girl entertainment group. They, along with Knowles’ friend Kelly Rowland, were placed into a group that performed rapping and dancing. Originally named Girl’s Tyme, they were eventually cut down to six members. West coast R&B producer Arne Frager flew into Houston to see them. He eventually brought them to his studio, The Plant Recording Studios, in Northern California, with Knowles’ vocals being featured. As part of efforts to sign Girl’s Tyme to a major label record deal, Frager’s strategy was to début them in Star Search, the biggest talent show on national TV at the time. Girl’s Tyme participated in the competition but lost it because the song they performed was not good, Knowles herself admitted. Knowles had her first “professional setback” after that defeat but regained confidence after learning that pop stars Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake had also the same experience.
To manage the group, Knowles’ father (who was at that time a medical-equipment salesman) resigned in 1995 from his job. He dedicated his time and established a “boot camp” for their training. The move reduced Knowles’ family’s income by half and her parents were forced to move into separated apartments. Not long after the inclusion of Rowland, Mathew cut the original lineup to four, with LeToya Luckett joining in 1993. Rehearsing in Tina’s Headliners Salon and their backyards, the group continued performing as an opening act for other established R&B girl groups of the time; Tina contributed to the cause by designing their costumes, which she continued to do throughout the Destiny’s Child era. With the continued support of Mathew, they auditioned before record labels and were finally signed to Elektra Records. They moved to Atlanta to work on their first recording, only to be cut by the record company in 1995. They returned home to start over again. This eventually put a strain on the family, and Beyoncé’s parents separated briefly when she was 14. In 1996, the family reunited, and shortly after, the girls got a contract with Columbia Records. 1997–2001: Destiny’s Child era and depression
Main article: Destiny’s Child
Destiny’s Child performing their 2000 hit single, “Say My Name”. The group changed its name to Destiny’s Child in 1993, based on a passage in the Book of Isaiah. Together, they performed in local events and, after four years on the road, the group was signed to Columbia Records in late 1997. That same year, Destiny’s Child recorded their major label début song, “Killing Time”, for the soundtrack to the 1997 film, Men in Black. The following year, the group released their self-titled debut album, scoring their first major hit “No, No, No”. The album established the group as a viable act in the music industry, amassing moderate sales and winning the group three Soul Train Lady of Soul Awards for “Best R&B/Soul Single” for “No, No, No”, “Best R&B/Soul Album of the Year” and “Best R&B/Soul or Rap New Artist”. The group released their multi-platinum second album The Writing’s on the Wall in 1999.
The record features some of the group’s most widely known songs such as “Bills, Bills, Bills”, the group’s first number-one single, “Jumpin’ Jumpin'”, and “Say My Name”, which became their most-successful song at the time, and would remain one of their signature songs. “Say My Name” won the Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals and the Best R&B Song at the 43rd Grammy Awards. The Writing’s on the Wall sold more than eight million copies. During this time, Knowles recorded a duet with Marc Nelson on the song “After All Is Said and Done” for the soundtrack to the 1999 film, The Best Man. Luckett and Roberson filed a lawsuit against the group for breach of contract. Michelle Williams and Farrah Franklin appeared on the video of “Say My Name”, implying that Luckett and Roberson had already been replaced. Eventually, Luckett and Roberson left the group. Franklin would eventually fade from the group after five months, as evidenced by her absences during promotional appearances and concerts.
She attributed her departure to negative vibes in the group resulting from the strife. During this time, Knowles had experienced depression from an accumulation of struggles: the publicized split of Luckett and Roberson, being publicly attacked by the media, critics and blogs for causing the split-up, and a longstanding boyfriend (that she had dated from age 12 to 19 years) leaving her. The depression was so severe it had lasted for a couple of years, while she had kept herself in her bedroom for days and refused to eat anything. Knowles stated that she struggled to speak about her depression because Destiny’s Child had just won their first Grammy Award and she feared no one would take her seriously. All of these events had made her question herself and who her friends were, describing the situation she said, “Now that I was famous, I was afraid I’d never find somebody again to love me for me. I was afraid of making new friends.” She acknowledges her mother, Tina Knowles, for finally saying to help her out of her depression, “Why do you think a person wouldn’t love you? Don’t you know how smart and sweet and beautiful you are?” After settling on their final lineup, the trio recorded “Independent Women Part I”, which appeared on the soundtrack to the 2000 film, Charlie’s Angels.
It became their best-charting single, topping the Billboard Hot 100 for eleven consecutive weeks. Later that year, Luckett and Roberson withdrew their case against their now-former band mates, while maintaining the suit against Mathew, which ended in both sides agreeing to stop public disparaging. In early 2001, while Destiny’s Child was completing their third album, Knowles landed a major role in the MTV made-for-television film, Carmen: A Hip Hopera, starring alongside American actor Mekhi Phifer. Set in Philadelphia, the film is a modern interpretation of the 19th century opera Carmen by French composer Georges Bizet. Luckett and Roberson refiled their lawsuit after Destiny’s Child’s third album, Survivor was released in May 2001, claiming that the songs were aimed at them. The album débuted at number one on U.S. Billboard 200 with 663,000 units sold. To date, Survivor has sold over ten million copies worldwide, over forty percent of which were sold in the U.S. alone. The album spawned other number-one hits, “Bootylicious” and the title track, “Survivor”, the latter of which earned the group a Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. After releasing their holiday album, 8 Days of Christmas, the group announced a hiatus to pursue solo careers. 2002–03: Solo career, films, and Dangerously in Love
In 2002, Knowles co-starred in the comedy film Austin Powers in Goldmember, playing Foxxy Cleopatra, opposite of Mike Myers. Knowles recorded her first solo single, “Work It Out”, for the film’s soundtrack. The following year, she starred opposite Cuba Gooding, Jr. in the romantic comedy film, The Fighting Temptations, and recorded numerous songs for the film’s soundtrack, including “Fighting Temptation” and a cover version of “Fever”. In October 2002, Knowles was featured on her then-boyfriend Jay-Z’s single, “’03 Bonnie & Clyde”. The song peaked at number four on the Billboard Hot 100 and number two on the Rap Songs chart. In March 2003, Knowles released a remix of 50 Cent’s “In Da Club”, which made its way onto several mixtapes. After Williams and Rowland released their solo efforts, Knowles released her début solo album, Dangerously in Love, in June 2003. It debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 and sold 317,000 copies in its first week. The album sold over 4.6 million copies in the United States, where it was certified four times Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). It went on to sell over 11 million copies worldwide, and remains as Knowles’ best-selling album to date. The album’s lead single, “Crazy in Love” featuring Jay-Z, spent eight consecutive weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100. The album’s second single, “Baby Boy” featuring dancehall singer Sean Paul, spent nine consecutive weeks at number one. The album’s third single, “Me, Myself and I”, peaked at number four on the same chart. The album’s fourth single, “Naughty Girl”, peaked at number three and became Knowles’ fourth consecutive top-five release from Dangerously in Love and Knowles’ fifth consecutive top-five hit. The album led Knowles to win a then record-tying five awards at the 46th Grammy Awards for Best Contemporary R&B Album, Best Female R&B Vocal Performance for “Dangerously in Love 2”, Best R&B Song, Best Rap/Sung Collaboration, and Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. In November 2003, Knowles embarked on her Dangerously in Love Tour in Europe. 2004–05: Destiny Fulfilled and group disbandment
Destiny’s Child star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
In March 2004, Knowles joined Alicia Keys, Missy Elliott, and Tamia for the Verizon Ladies First Tour in North America. Knowles had originally planned to release a follow-up to Dangerously in Love in March 2004, which would feature some of the left-over recordings from the album. However, Knowles decided to put the album on hold in order to concentrate on the next Destiny’s Child album. After a three-year journey that involved concentration on individual solo projects, Knowles rejoined Rowland and Williams to release their fourth and final album, Destiny Fulfilled in November 2004. The album peaked at number two on the Billboard 200 and sold over 3.1 million copies in the United States, where it was certified three times Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The album spawned the hit singles, “Lose My Breath”, “Soldier” and “Cater 2 U”. In April 2005, the group embarked on their Destiny Fulfilled … And Lovin’ It tour, which ended in September of that year.
During the last stop of their European leg of the tour in Barcelona, Rowland announced that Destiny’s Child would disband following the North American leg of the tour. A compilation album titled, Number 1’s, featuring the group’s number-one hits and most well-known songs, was released in October 2005. The album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 and certified Platinum by the RIAA. Knowles’ song “Check on It” featuring Slim Thug, was released from the album in December 2005. The song spent five consecutive weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100, and became Knowles’ third Hot 100 number-one as a solo artist and Slim Thug’s first Hot 100 single. In March 2006, Destiny’s Child reunited to accept a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. 2006–07: B’Day and films
Knowles singing “Listen”, which was inspired by her role in the film, Dreamgirls (2006) In February 2006, Knowles’ starred opposite Steve Martin in the comedy film, The Pink Panther, as international pop star, Xania. Knowles released her second studio album, B’Day, in September 2006; it debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, selling 541,000 copies in its first week. It gained Knowles her largest first week sales of her solo career and became her second consecutive number one album. The album sold 3.2 million copies in the United States, and has been certified three times Platinum by the RIAA. The album’s lead single, “Déjà Vu” featuring Jay-Z, peaked at number four on the Billboard Hot 100 and topped the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. “Ring the Alarm” was released as the album’s second US single, while “Irreplaceable” served as the second
international single and later as the third US single. “Irreplaceable” spent ten consecutive weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming Knowles’ fourth number-one single as solo artist. In December 2006, Knowles starred in Dreamgirls, a film adaptation of the 1981 Broadway musical about a 1960s singing group, alongside Jamie Foxx, Eddie Murphy, and Jennifer Hudson. Knowles recorded several songs for the film’s soundtrack, including the original song, “Listen”. Her role earned her two Golden Globe Award nominations in 2007 for Best Actress and Best Original Song. On April 3, 2007, Knowles re-released B’Day, as a deluxe edition, featuring five new songs, including “Beautiful Liar”, a duet with Colombian singer Shakira. The song peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100. It performed better in international music markets, reaching number one in the United Kingdom, making it Knowles’ third number-one single there and Shakira’s second. On April 10, 2007, Knowles’ embarked on her first solo worldwide concert tour, The Beyoncé Experience.
The tour visited over ninety venues worldwide, and was later made into the concert DVD, The Beyoncé Experience Live!. B’Day received five nominations at the 49th Grammy Awards for Best Contemporary R&B Album, Best Female R&B Vocal Performance for “Ring the Alarm” and Best R&B Song and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for “Déjà Vu”. The Freemasons club mix of “Déjà Vu” without the rap was nominated for Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical. The album won the award for Best Contemporary R&B Album. The following year, B’Day received two nominations for Record of the Year for “Irreplaceable” and Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals for “Beautiful Liar”. Knowles’ also received a Grammy nomination for her work on Dreamgirls. 2008–09: Marriage, I Am… Sasha Fierce, and films
Jay-Z and Beyoncé performing
In 2002, Knowles began dating American rapper Jay-Z, with whom she has collaborated several times. Rumors began to circulate about their relationship after Knowles was featured on “’03 Bonnie ; Clyde”. In spite of persistent rumors they remained discreet about their relationship. On April 4, 2008, they married in New York City. Knowles did not publicly debut her wedding ring until the Fashion Rocks concert on September 5, 2008, in New York City. Before they were married, Knowles and Jay-Z were listed as the Most Powerful Couple of TIME magazine’s 100 Most Influential people of 2006. In January 2009, Forbes ranked them as Hollywood’s top-earning couple, with a combined total of $162 million. They also made it to the top of the list the following year, with a combined total of $122 million between June 2008 and June 2009. In November 2008, Forbes magazine reported that Knowles earned $80 million between June 1, 2007 to June 1, 2008, for her music, tour, films and fashion business. This made her the world’s second best-paid music personality for this span of time. Knowles released her third studio album, I Am… Sasha Fierce, on November 14, 2008. The album introduces Knowles’ alter-ego “Sasha Fierce”. It debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 and sold 482,000 copies in its first week, giving Knowles her third consecutive number one album in the US. Eventually, Knowles became the third female artist of the 2000s decade to have her first three albums debut at at number one on Billboard 200.
The album sold 2.9 million copies in the United States, and certified double platinum by the RIAA. To date, the album has sold more than 7 million copies worldwide. “If I Were a Boy” and “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” were released as the album’s first and second lead singles, respectively. The first lead single peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100, while the second peaked at number one, becoming Knowles’ fifth number-one single. “Single Ladies” spent four non-consecutive weeks at the top spot. Its music video has achieved fame for its intricate choreography, which has been credited as having started the “first major dance craze of both the new millennium and the Internet”. This prompted a legion of imitations and parodies from men and women all around the world, including celebrities Justin Timberlake Joe Jonas, Tom Hanks and US President Barack Obama. The music video received nine nominations at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards and ultimately won the award for Video of the Year and an additional two awards, though its loss in the Best Female Video category to Taylor Swift’s “You Belong with Me” led to a controversy during the ceremony.
Knowles performing “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” during her I Am… Tour in 2009 In December 2008, Knowles starred in the musical biopic Cadillac Records as blues singer, Etta James. She performed James’ classic hit “At Last” at The Neighborhood Inaugural Ball of Barack Obama and his wife Michelle’s first dance as President and First Lady of the United States on January 20, 2009. “Diva” was released as the third US single from I Am… Sasha Fierce, while “Halo” served as the third international single, and later as the fourth US single. The song peaked at number five on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming Knowles’ twelfth Hot 100 top-ten single as a solo artist. With this feat, Knowles achieved more top tens on the Hot 100 than any other female artist of the 2000s decade. “Ego” was released as the album’s fifth US single, and subsequently came up with a remix featuring additional vocals from Kanye West. The song peaked at number thirty-nine on the Billboard Hot 100. “Broken-Hearted Girl” and “Sweet Dreams” became the album’s sixth and seventh singles respectively. To promote the album, Knowles embarked on her worldwide I Am… Tour in March 2009. According to Pollstar, the tour earned Knowles $103.2 million for its 97 shows. In April 2009, Knowles starred opposite Ali Larter and Idris Elba in the thriller film, Obsessed. The film grossed $11.1 million on its first day of release, and ended its opening weekend at number one with a total of $28.5 million. In June 2009, Forbes listed Knowles fourth on its list of the “100 Most Powerful and Influential Celebrities in the World”, third on its list of the “Top-Grossing Musicians”, and first on the list of “Top Best-Paid Celebs Under 30” with over $87 million in earnings between 2008 and 2009. “Video Phone” was released as the eighth single from I Am… Sasha Fierce, with a music video and digital download release taking form of an extended remix featuring American pop artist, Lady Gaga. Its music video received two nominations at the 2010 BET Awards for Video of the Year and Best Collaboration, winning the former category on April 27, 2010. It also received five nominations at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards, in the categories of Best Choreography, Best Collaboration, Best Pop Video, Best Female Video and Best Art Direction. Knowles received ten nominations at the 52nd Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year for I Am… Sasha Fierce, Record of the Year for “Halo”, and Song of the Year for “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)”, among others.
She tied with Lauryn Hill for most Grammy nominations in a single year by a female artist. Knowles ultimately set the record for the most Grammy awards won on a single night by a female artist, when she won six awards from her ten nominations; Song of the Year, Best R&B Song and Best Female R&B Vocal Performance for “Single Ladies”, Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for “Halo”, Best Contemporary R&B Album and Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance for “At Last”. 2010–present: New management and 4
In January 2010, Knowles was interviewed by USA Today and announced plans to take a break from music in 2010. She stated, “it’s definitely time to take a break, to recharge my batteries. … I’d like to take about six months and not go into the studio. I need to just live life, to be inspired by things again.” During this time, a 60 Minutes segment aired, revealing Knowles was homeschooled as a child and prays before every performance. In February 2010, Lady Gaga’s song “Telephone” was released featuring Knowles. The single reached number one on the US Pop Songs chart, thus becoming the sixth number-one on the chart for both Knowles and Lady Gaga. With this, they both tied with Mariah Carey for most number-ones since the Nielsen BDS-based Top 40 airplay chart launched in 1992. “Telephone” received a Grammy nomination for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals at the 53rd Grammy Awards. In June 2010, Forbes placed Knowles at number three on its list of “Top-Earning Musicians” with $87 million in grosses for her 93-date world tour, deals with Nintendo and L’Oréal and her House of Deréon clothing line. This made her the world’s best paid female artist for this span of time. In October 2010, Forbes recognized Knowles as the ninth “Most Powerful Woman in the World”.
She also ranked at ninth place on Forbes’ list of “Hollywood’s 20 Highest Earners of 2010”, becoming the only artist to break the top ten. In January 2011, it was made known that Knowles would appear in a remake of A Star Is Born, to be directed and produced by Clint Eastwood for Warner Bros.. The remake will be the fourth telling of the A Star Is Born tale, the most memorable in recent years being the 1976 version with Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson. In February 2011, documents obtained by the WikiLeaks website revealed that Knowles along with Usher, Mariah Carey and Nelly Furtado had received as much as $1 million to perform for family members of Libyan politician Muammar Gaddafi. Rolling Stone magazine reported that the music industry was urging them to return the money they earned for the concerts. On March 2, 2011, a spokesperson for Knowles told The Huffington Post that she had donated the money to the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, established to aid the victims of the 2010 Haiti earthquake. On March 28, 2011, it was announced that Knowles’ father and longtime manager Mathew Knowles would no longer manage her. Knowles’ publicist released a statement to The Associated Press revealing that Knowles and her father have split “on a business level.” She now manages herself and has hired her own team. In June 2011, Forbes placed Knowles eighth on its list of “Best-Paid Celebrities Under 30” for earning $35 million between the months of May 2010 and 2011. Forbes noted that was low placement for Knowles was due to the fact she spent most of the past year off the road and recording her then upcoming fourth studio album. Knowles’ fourth studio album 4 was released on June 24, 2011. The album was inspired by several musicians, including Fela Kuti, The Stylistics, Lauryn Hill, Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson. Its lead single, “Run the World (Girls)” peaked at number twenty-nine on the Billboard Hot 100, and became Knowles’ lowest charting lead single as a solo artist. The album’s second single, “Best Thing I Never Had”, was released on June 1, 2011. Knowles headlined at the 2011 Glastonbury Festival, performing a 90-minute set on the last day of the festival on June 26, 2011. She will also be performing at the Oxegen Festival in Ireland, and the T in the Park Festival in Scotland during July 2011. Artistry
Music and voice
“Trust in Me”
While predominately R;B, Knowles’ music explores various styles. The Daily Mail calls Knowles’ voice “versatile”, capable of exploring power ballads, soul, rock belting, operatic florishes, and hip hop.
Knowles’ prominent use of melisma and other vocal ornamentation earns her both praise and criticism from critics and fans.
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Knowles’ music is generally contemporary R;B, but she also incorporates pop, funk, hip hop, and soul into her songs. While she almost exclusively releases English songs, Knowles recorded several Spanish records for Irreemplazable and the re-release of B’Day. Prior to recording the Spanish titles on the album’s re-release, Knowles was coached phonetically by American record producer, Rudy Perez. Since Destiny’s Child, Knowles has artistically been involved in her career. She received co-writing credits for most of the songs recorded by the group, as well as her solo efforts. Known for writing personally driven and female-empowerment themed compositions, Knowles has stated that having Jay-Z in her life has changed a few of her thoughts about how men and women relate to one another, which helped her transition from writing songs such as “Independent Women” and “Survivor” to man-tending anthems such as, “Cater 2 U” in which she sings about bringing him slippers and drawing his bath. Some of her songs are autobiographical, which she has admitted are taken from personal experiences, as well as her friends’. Knowles has also received co-producing credits for most of the records in which she has been involved, especially during her solo efforts. However, she does not formulate beats herself, but typically comes up with melodies and ideas during production, sharing them with producers. Knowles was recognized as a songwriter during the run of Destiny’s Child in the 1990s and early to mid-2000s. She won the Pop Songwriter of the Year award at the 2001 American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers Pop Music Awards, becoming the first African-American female and second female songwriter of all time to accomplish the feat. Knowles received songwriting credits in a single year for co-writing “Irreplaceable”, “Grillz” and “Check on It”, all of which reached number one on the Hot 100, the only woman to have written three songs which went to number-one in the same year since Carole King did it in 1971 and Mariah Carey in 1991. In terms of credits, she is tied with Diane Warren at third with nine number-one singles.
Knowles possesses a mezzo-soprano vocal range that spans more than three octaves. She has often been identified as the centerpiece of Destiny’s Child. Jon Pareles of The New York Times commented that she has the voice that defines the group, writing that her voice is “velvety yet tart, with an insistent flutter and reserves of soul belting”. Other critics praise her range and power. In reviewing her second album B’Day, Jody Rosen of Entertainment Weekly wrote “Beyoncé Knowles is a storm system disguised as a singer. On her second solo album, B’Day, the songs arrive in huge gusts of rhythm and emotion, with Beyoncé’s voice rippling over clattery beats; you’d have to search far and wide—perhaps in the halls of the Metropolitan Opera – to find a vocalist who sings with more sheer force…No one—not R. Kelly, not Usher, to say nothing of her rival pop divas—can match Beyoncé’s genius for dragging her vocal lines against a hip-hop beat.” Chris Richards of The Washington Post wrote, “Even when she’s coasting, she soars above her imitators. It’s all in her voice—a superhuman instrument capable of punctuating any beat with goose-bump-inducing whispers or full-bore diva-roars. Smitten, scorned, amorous, antagonistic—Beyoncé sings from all of these vantage points with undeniable virtuosity.” Cove magazine ranked Knowles seventh on their list of “The 100 Outstanding Pop Vocalists”, giving her 48 out of 50 points based on several criteria ranging from her vocal ability to range to harmony. Knowles has often been criticized for oversinging.
A prominent employer of melisma, she earns frequent comparison to such artists as Mariah Carey, whose vocal embellishments have been known to detract from the melody of their songs. Editors from Eye Weekly wrote, “There’s no question that Beyoncé is one of the best singers in pop, maybe one of the best alive…[However] as judicious as her singing can be, the effect in sum is still like being hit in the head with a fist in a velvet glove.” Influences
One of Knowles’ major influences and idol is Michael Jackson, who she credits as the reason why she does music. Knowles has also named Diana Ross as another one of her influences because “she’s an all-around entertainer: a great actor, a good singer, and a beautiful, elegant woman. She’s one of the few singers able to cross over into really good movies.” Her other musical influences include Tina Turner, Prince, Lauryn Hill, Aaliyah, Mary J. Blige, Whitney Houston, Janet Jackson, Anita Baker and Rachelle Ferrell. Knowles credits Mariah Carey’s singing and her song “Vision of Love” as influencing her to begin practicing vocal runs as a child, as well as helping her pursue a career as a musician. She is also inspired by Oprah Winfrey and US First Lady Michelle Obama. Knowles says Winfrey is “the definition of inspiration and a strong woman. When I’m around her, I want to stand up straight, pronounce my words right, and articulate.” Aside from her influences, Knowles has become a musical inspiration among various contemporary artists, including Rihanna, Alexandra Burke, Leona Lewis, Adele and Nicki Minaj. Trey Songz, Keri Hilson and Jazmine Sullivan have also mentioned that they are fans of Knowles’ music. Kelly Rowland revealed in an interview with MTV News that Knowles was one of the artists she was inspired by while recording her second album, Ms. Kelly. Adele revealed to Rolling Stone magazine, that she was inspired by Knowles’ alter ego to create her own named, Sasha Carter. Carter is pulled out whenever she needs to give herself a shot of confidence. Pop singer Miley Cyrus told Seventeen magazine that she would like to be like Knowles, stating “She is the ultimate woman. You look at her and you don’t think, I wonder what her personal life is like. You look at her and you go, that girl on the stage is a superstar.
You don’t care about anything else; you only care about her music. So I would hope that would be me in the future.” Lady Gaga, in an interview for her MTV special Lady GaGa: Inside the Outsidetold, revealed that she drew inspiration from Knowles before becoming famous. She said “You know, I’ve never told Beyoncé this, but I remember laying on my grandmother’s couch crying, and a Destiny’s Child video came on. I remember watching Beyoncé thinking, ‘Oh, she’s a star. I want that. I want to be on MTV’. And now I’m in music videos with Beyoncé.” Actress Gwyneth Paltrow revealed to Harper’s Bazaar UK that she studied Knowles a lot at her live concerts, while she was learning to be a musical performer in the film, Country Strong. Knowles’ music video for “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” has achieved fame for its intricate choreography, which has been credited as having started the “first major dance craze of both the new millennium and the Internet”. This prompted a legion of imitations and parodies from men and women all around the world posting videos of themselves onto YouTube attempting to perform the choreography. Celebrities have also tried the choreography, including Justin Timberlake, Joe Jonas, Tom Hanks and US President Barack Obama. Stage and alter ego
In 2006, Knowles introduced her all-female tour band Suga Mama, which includes bassists, drummers, guitarists, horn players, keyboardists and percussionists. They made their début appearance at the 2006 BET Awards and re-appeared in the music videos for “Irreplaceable” and “Green Light”. The band has supported Knowles in live performances, including her 2007 concert tour, The Beyoncé Experience, and her 2009 I Am… Tour. Knowles often receives praise for her stage presence and live performances. In March 2011, Jarett Wieselman of The New York Post placed Knowles at number one on her list of The Five Best Singer/Dancers, writing, “the megastar consistently devote[s] every ounce of her to the routine.” In reviewing her live show for her 2009 I Am… Tour, Renee Michelle Harris of the South Florida Times wrote, Knowles “owns the stage with her trademark swagger and intensity… showcasing her powerful vocals without missing a note, often while engaged in vigorous, perfectly executed dance moves…no one, not Britney, not Ciara and not Rihanna can offer what she does—a complete package of voice, moves and presence.”
Babara Ellen of The Guardian wrote, “whether charismatic and soulful, or teasing and flirty, Beyoncé is, above all, in charge. Probably the most “in charge” of any female artist I’ve seen onstage”. In reviewing her I Am… Tour, Alice Jones of The Independent wrote, “Watching Beyoncé sing and strut her stuff can feel at best overawing, at worst, alienating. She takes her role as entertainer so seriously she’s almost too good.” Tamara Hardingham-Gill of the Daily Mail wrote, “many industry experts have been tipping Beyoncé as the next Michael Jackson. While it’s far too early for such comparisons, she certainly proved that she is one of the most exciting and talented performers around and may well go down in history as such”.
“Dangerously in Love” (live)
Knowles has received widespread praise for her live vocal performances.
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Reviewers have praised Knowles live vocal performances. In reviewing one of her performances, Jim Farber of The Daily News wrote “Beyoncé showed off pipes of steely power. As the song’s signature horn riff pumped away, she soared over the melody with athletic ease. The way Beyoncé used her body intensified the sense of triumph. With her hair teased into Medusa-like tresses, a pelvis in perpetual churn and legs long enough to make Tina Turner proud, Beyoncé’s presence punctuated her singing like an exclamation point.” Stephanie Classen of the Star Phoenix declares “Beyoncé is no ordinary performer… from note one, the 27-year-old powerhouse rose above all the gimmicks, mastering the show like a sexy alien overlord princess. Nothing but extraterrestrial origins could explain that voice….[Beyoncé] could perform circles around any other pop star today.” Editors from Newsday wrote, “she proves that hot choreography and strong vocals don’t have to be mutually exclusive… No worries of lip-synching here.” Known for being sexy, seductive and provocative when performing on stage, Knowles has stated that’s her alter ego, Sasha Fierce. She described Sasha as being “too aggressive, too strong, too sassy [and] too sexy”, stating “I’m not like her in real life at all … I’m not flirtatious and super-confident and fearless like her. What I feel onstage I don’t feel anywhere else. It’s an out-of-body experience. I created my stage persona to protect myself so that when I go home I don’t have to think about what it is I do. Sasha isn’t me. The people around me know who I really am.” Although Sasha was born during the making of her 2003 hit single, “Crazy in Love”, Knowles introduced her alter ego with the release of her third album, I Am… Sasha Fierce in 2008. In February 2010, Knowles announced in an interview with Allure magazine that “Sasha Fierce is done. I killed her”. She then went on saying that she is comfortable enough with herself to be all of those things without an alias, stating “I don’t need Sasha Fierce anymore, because I’ve grown and now I’m able to merge the two.” Public image
Knowles performing “Ave Maria” during her I Am… Tour in 2009 Knowles has stated, “I like to dress sexy and I carry myself like a lady,” but she has said that the way she dresses on stage is “absolutely for the stage”. The media often use the term “Bootylicious” (a combination of the words booty and delicious), to describe Knowles because of her curves. The term was made widely known by the Destiny’s Child hit song of the same name, and has been added to the Oxford English Dictionary. As someone who is fond of fashion, Knowles combines its artistic elements with her music videos and performances. According to Italian fashion designer Roberto Cavalli, she uses different styles and tries to harmonize it with the music while performing. The B’Day Anthology Video Album showed many instances of fashion-oriented footage, depicting classic to contemporary wardrobe styles. People magazine recognized Knowles as the best-dressed celebrity in 2007. Knowles’ mother wrote a 2002-published book, titled Destiny’s Style: Bootylicious Fashion, Beauty and Lifestyle Secrets From Destiny’s Child, an account of how fashion had an impact on Destiny’s Child’s success. As one of the most media-exposed black celebrities in the United States, Knowles has often received criticism that some believe is due to racism and sexism. Toure of Rolling Stone stated that since the release of Dangerously in Love, “[Beyoncé] has become a crossover sex symbol a la Halle Berry …” In 2006, the animal rights organization, PETA, had criticized Knowles for wearing fur coats and using fur in her clothing line, House of Deréon. The organization said they had previously attempted to reach Knowles through faxes, letters and rallies outside her concerts. However with no reply, PETA confronted her at a dinner in New York. During the release of pop singer Rihanna’s second album, A Girl Like Me, many critics felt that her image was too heavily similar to Knowles’.
Some media even claimed that Jay-Z fashioned her to be a replica of Knowles. Amina Taylor of The Guardian, noted her as the “Bajan Beyoncé”. In 2007, Knowles was featured on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, the first non-model and non-athlete woman to pose on the issue and the second African American model after Tyra Banks. In the same year, Knowles appeared on billboards and newspapers across the United States showing her holding an antiquated cigarette holder. Taken from the back cover of B’Day, the image provoked response from an anti-smoking group, stating that she did not need to add the cigarette holder “to make herself appear more sophisticated”. Knowles has several wax figures of herself at Madame Tussauds Wax Museums in major cities around the world, including New York, Washington, D.C., Amsterdam, Bangkok and Hollywood. In March 2009, comparisons were made between the fashions of Knowles and R&B singer Ciara, when the latter released the music video of her single, “Love Sex Magic”. In the video, Ciara is seen wearing a black leotard and metallic glasses, similar to those worn by Knowles in both her “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” and “Diva” videos. However, Ciara stated that her outfits were “inspired by the Vegas shows” she attended. In September 2010, Knowles made her runway modelling debut at Tom Ford’s Spring/Summer 2011 fashion show. In February 2011, LA Times magazine placed Knowles at number twenty-five on its list of the 50 Most Beautiful Women in Film. In the same month, Knowles appeared on the cover of the March issue of the French fashion magazine, L’Officiel, in honor of the magazine’s 90th anniversary, and in tribute to Nigerian musician Fela Kuti. She appeared in blackface makeup and tribal makeup, that has drawn criticism from the media. A statement released from a spokesperson for the magazine, said that Knowles’ look was “far from the glamorous Sasha Fierce” and explained that it was “a return to her African roots, as you can see on the picture, on which her face was voluntarily darkened.” Awards and achievements
Main article: List of awards and nominations received by Beyoncé Knowles Throughout her career, Knowles has received numerous awards and achievements. In 2007, she became the first female artist to be awarded the International Artist Award at the American Music Awards. At the 2008 World Music Awards, Knowles was honored the legend award for Outstanding Contribution to the Arts. She was also honored with a Billboard Millennium Award at the 2011 Billboard Music Awards, for recognizing her career achievements and influence in the music industry. Knowles is one of the most honored artists by the Grammys, and third among female artists, with a total of 16 Grammy Awards – 13 as a solo artist and 3 as a member of Destiny’s Child. Her debut studio album, Dangerously in Love, was listed as one of the top 200 definitive albums in music history by the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. In December 2009, Billboard listed Knowles as the most successful female artist and the top radio artist of the 2000s decade. Billboard also ranked her the 4th artist of the decade, and the 15th top 25 R&B/Hip-Hop artist of the past 25 years (1985–2010). BET also recognized Knowles as the second most influential artist of the decade. In February 2010, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) listed Knowles as the top certified artist of the decade, with a total of 64 certifications, including albums, digital songs, master ringtones and music videos. In August 2010, VH1 listed her at number 52 on its list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. As of September 2009, Knowles has sold 75 million records worldwide as a solo artist, making her one of the best-selling music artists of all time. Other ventures
Knowles and her mother introduced House of Deréon, a ready-to-wear contemporary women’s fashion line, in 2005. The concept is inspired by three generations of women in their family, with the name Deréon paying tribute to Knowles’ grandmother, Agnèz Deréon, who worked as a seamstress. According to Tina Knowles, the overall style of the line best reflects Knowles’ taste and style. Launched in 2006, products of House of Deréon received public exhibitions during the group’s shows and tours during the Destiny Fulfilled era. The store, which is available across the United States and Canada, sells sportswear, denim along with fur, outerwear and accessories including handbags. Knowles also teamed up with House of Brands, a local shoe company, to produce a range of footwear for House of Deréon. In 2004, Knowles and her mother founded their family’s company Beyond Productions, which provides the licensing and brand management for House of Deréon. In early 2008, they launched Beyoncé Fashion Diva, a mobile game with an online social networking component, featuring House of Deréon. In July 2009, Knowles and her mother launched a new junior apparel label, Sasha Fierce for Deréon, for back-to-school selling. The collection, which is inspired by Knowles’ stage presence, consists of sportswear, outerwear, handbags, footwear, eyewear, lingerie and jewelry. The clothing line was picked up by department stores including Macy’s and Dillard’s and specialty stores, Jimmy Jazz and Against All Odds. In May 2010, Knowles teamed up with clothing store C&A to release her Deréon clothing line labeled, Deréon by Beyoncé for C&A. The collection was only made available in Brazilian C&A stores. Products and endorsements
In 2002, Knowles signed a promotional deal with Pepsi to appear in two television commercials, as well as in radio and Internet advertisements and in-store promotional materials. A 2004 Pepsi television commercial in the theme of “Gladiators” featured Knowles with singers Britney Spears, Pink, and Enrique Iglesias, and the following year with Jennifer Lopez and David Beckham entitled “Samurai”. Knowles’ range of commercial deals and products also includes beauty care products and perfumes. She has worked with L’Oréal since the age of 18. In 2004, Knowles launched her fragrance, True Star, with Tommy Hilfiger. The commercial for the scent is in black and white and has Knowles singing a cover version of “Wishing on a Star”, for which she earned $250,000. The following year, Knowles launched her second fragrance with Hilfiger, True Star Gold. In 2007, Knowles appeared in an advertisement campaign for the Emporio Armani Diamonds fragrance. In March 2009, Knowles appeared in a television commercial for the Nintendo DS game “Rhythm Heaven”. In January 2010, Knowles signed a three-year endorsement deal with Vizio. She also appeared in two television commercials for “Style Savvy”, a fashion video game for the Nintendo DS and Nintendo DSi. Five designs from her House of Deréon clothing line was available for download in the game. In February 2010, Knowles launched her first fragrance, Heat. She re-recorded her cover version of “Fever” for the fragrance’s television commercial.
The commercial was banned from daytime television in the United Kingdom, after it had received 14 viewer complaints. The commercial begins with an image of Knowles appearing to lie naked in a room, had been deemed “too sexually provocative” to be seen by young children and was not shown before 7.30 pm. In February 2011, Knowles launched her second fragrance, Heat Rush. Her third fragrance, Beyonce Pulse, will launch in September 2011. In April 2011, Knowles was sued by US game developer, Gate Five, for more than $100 million, who claimed she “destroyed [its] business … on a whim”. Knowles changed her mind about plans for a game called “Starpower: Beyoncé”, forcing the company to sack 70 employees the week before Christmas 2010. Philanthropy
Knowles has been exposed to issues of social awareness since a young child, as her father would sometimes take her into the community, including African-American society. Knowles and Destiny’s Child band mate, Kelly Rowland, along with the former’s family, founded the Survivor Foundation, a charitable entity set up to provide transitional housing for 2005 Hurricane Katrina victims and storm evacuees in the Houston, Texas area. The Survivor Foundation extended the philanthropic mission of the Knowles-Rowland Center for Youth, a multi-purpose community outreach facility in downtown Houston. Knowles donated $100,000 to the Gulf Coast Ike Relief Fund, which benefits victims of Hurricane Ike in the Houston area. She is organizing a fund raising benefit for Hurricane Ike relief through the Survivor Foundation. In 2005, music producer David Foster, his daughter Amy Foster-Gillies, and Knowles wrote “Stand Up for Love”, which would serve as the anthem of World Children’s Day, an event which takes place annually around the world on November 20 to raise awareness and funds for children’s causes worldwide. Destiny’s Child lent their voices and support as global ambassadors for the 2005 World Children’s Day program. Knowles conducted food drives during stops on The Beyoncé Experience tour in Houston on July 14, Atlanta on July 20, Washington, D.C. on August 9, Toronto on August 15, Chicago on August 18, and Los Angeles on September 2, 2006.
Knowles at the opening of the Beyoncé Cosmetology Center on March 5, 2010 On October 4, 2008, Knowles attended the Miami Children’s Hospital Diamond Ball & Private Concert at the American Airlines Arena in Miami, where she was inducted into the International Pediatric Hall of Fame. Seven-year-old Ethan Bortnick dedicated and performed “Over the Rainbow” to Knowles. After completing work on Cadillac Records, Knowles donated her entire salary to Phoenix House, an organization of rehabilitation centers around the country. Knowles visited a Brooklyn, New York site in preparation for portraying singer Etta James, who was once addicted to heroin. During this time, she recorded with various artists for “Just Stand Up!”, a charity single for the Stand Up to Cancer charity. Joining Knowles on the song was Mariah Carey, Leona Lewis, Rihanna, Leann Rimes and Mary J. Blige, among others. Knowles also teamed up with the “Show Your Helping Hand” hunger relief initiative and General Mills Hamburger Helper. The goal was to help Feeding America deliver more than 3.5 million meals to local food banks.
Knowles encouraged her fans to bring non-perishable groceries to her U.S. concert tour stops. In January 2010, Knowles participated in the Hope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief. She appeared in London with Jay-Z, Rihanna, and U2’s Bono and The Edge, where she performed a piano version of her song “Halo”. Knowles was named the official face of the limited edition “Fashion For Haiti” T-shirt by the Council of Fashion Designers of America. The shirt, which reads: “To Haiti With Love”, was designed by Peter Arnell, who also created the “Fashion for America” T-shirt which raised $2 million after 9/11. On March 5, 2010, Knowles and her mother, Tina Knowles, opened the Beyoncé Cosmetology Center at the Brooklyn Phoenix House. The program offers a seven-month cosmetology training course for men and women there. L’Oréal has donated all the products to be used at the center, and Knowles, along with her mother, have pledged to donate $100,000 annually. In April 2011, Knowles joined forces with US First Lady Michelle Obama and the National Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation to help boost her campaign against child obesity. Knowles reworked “Get Me Bodied” (2007) and renamed it “Move Your Body” for the Let’s Move! Flash Workout initiative. On April 9, 2011, an instructional video featuring a group of teenagers dancing to “Move Your Body” was released online. On April 26, 2011, Knowles released a video of her own version of the exercise routine. Following the death of Osama bin Laden, Knowles released a charity single titled, “God Bless the USA”, to help raise funds for the New York Police and Fire Widows’ and Children’s Benefit Fund. The song was originally released in 1984 by country musician Lee Greenwood. Its popularity increased after the September 11 attacks, and it was re-released following the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Discography
Main article: Beyoncé Knowles discography
Dangerously in Love (2003)
I Am… Sasha Fierce (2008)
Main article: Beyoncé Knowles videography
Carmen: A Hip Hopera (2001)
Austin Powers in Goldmember (2002)
The Fighting Temptations (2003)
The Pink Panther (2006)
Cadillac Records (2008)
A Star is Born (2012)